Design and features
The Dell Vostro V13 is what the business crowd gets as a cheaper alternative of the Adamo. It’s still quite thin and reasonably light, and everything is pleasingly matte from the chassis to the screen. The entire chassis is constructed from magnesium alloy which looks attractive but unfortunately attracts fingerprints as well.
When handling the unit it feels much lighter than its 1.59kg would have you believe and it’s easier to hold in one hand than some of the company’s other “thin and lights”.
The 13.3-inch, 1366×768 screen is pleasant to use and relatively glare free, but viewing angles are reasonably poor, especially the vertical.
While the headphone and microphone jacks are on the front, and ExpressCard/34 slot and SD/MMC/MS card reader are on the right, the remaining ports are relegated to the back.
It’s here where the Vostro V13 could do with a little more love, with a USB port, combo eSATA/USB port, gigabit Ethernet and VGA all that you get. By putting them on the rear means it can be awkward plugging some USB peripherals into the laptop and you’ll need to leave some space to plug the power cable in as well.
Any form of digital video out is not on the agenda (an interesting anomaly considering Dell’s DisplayPort push), and neither is any docking mechanism for port expansion, though we expect Dell could make a USB expansion available.
The oversized touchpad is welcome, as is multi-touch capability — although the only multi-touch action is sadly pinch to zoom.
The keyboard has a satisfying amount of tactile feedback — important for a business notebook — but unfortunately it’s not backlit. Following on from this there is also a distinct lack of multimedia controls you would find on a consumer laptop.
To get things this thin, Dell’s gone the Apple route and included a non-removable battery, as well as an Intel Core 2 Solo U3500 @ 1.4GHz, guaranteed to keep the heat down. It also contains 2GB RAM, a 300GB hard drive, powers video off an Intel 4500 and runs off Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. Wireless communications include an 802.11g adapter (upgradeable to 802.11n) and Bluetooth.